Monday, 3 October 2011

How to make your charity's newsletters a compelling read - part one

Here is a selection of insights and ideas to help you re-evaluate your charity's newsletters and make them a compelling read:

1. ‘Donor-centric’ newsletters
Think about what you want to achieve with your newsletters. The rule of thumb is to use newsletters to inform donors about your latest accomplishments; to share the vision for the future; to inspire donors so they continue to stay involved; to say Thank You and to invite renewed support.

2. Show how your charity is fulfilling the mission
Use one aspect of your charity’s mission as a key theme. Position your impact stories, statistics, case studies, etc to help donors understand how you are fulfilling the mission they have invested in.

For example, if an aspect of the mission is to educate illiterate women in Africa, a newsletter theme can be: ‘Breaking the cycle of poverty through education’. Use statistics to show how illiteracy causes poverty. Use impact stories to show how literate women are now earning a living. Include a donor interview about what motivates her to help illiterate women. Tell donors you couldn’t have done this good work without them. Share your vision for helping more women and invite financial support.

3. Offer news that interests donors
The word ‘Newsletter’ means ‘bearer of news’. News is something the reader doesn’t know about and something that makes them feel better connected with your cause.

Learn how to spot newsworthy stories that might interest your donors. Ask yourself: why am I telling this story? How will this make donors feel? What action steps do I want them to take after reading this?

Discover new angles on existing stories. Here is an example: ‘Life 1, Death 0 – We saved a life today.’ Highlight new challenges that can be addressed with donor’s future support: ‘We want to say ‘Yes’ to donkey work! – You heard it right. We are looking to purchase 1,000 donkeys in Ethiopia. The can be a great asset to poor families.’

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